CHECKLISTS

Timothy and Titus – Inconspicuous Leadership

1 Timothy 5 checklistI am a list maker…even in retirement from my secular work. For me, what doesn’t get listed, doesn’t get done. It is also very rewarding for me to check that item off the list when it is accomplished. The list has a progression of priorities. One task cannot happen until another task is completed. And so life goes with my lists guiding my behavior and productivity.

As I journal each morning in my conversational prayer with God, the Father, His Spirit guides me to make another list that helps me to mature and grow in Him. I am convicted of some of those “fruits of the Spirit” that I have not tended to or cultivated, have ignored or left undone. His Holy Spirit redirects my thoughts and helps me form a list of tasks that will help me improve my behavior. “Keep a close check on yourself”, writes Paul to Timothy. For me, that means to make a spiritual checklist that keeps me in close contact with the will and purpose of our Father, God and helps me to grow closer to Him.

We can do nothing of significance without God. I am convinced that He guides us to all things that are good for our growth and aid our learning about Him and how He works. Paul also gives Timothy sound advice about how to treat those whom God has called to lead with character traits with another list of how to lead. This list still applies to us today. The theme of this episode seems to be; Know God, Know Yourself, Know The Message, Know Your Audience. Our deeds, good and bad, will be evident. Be driven by God’s love in us.

1 Timothy 5, The Message

17-18 Give a bonus to leaders who do a good job, especially the ones who work hard at preaching and teaching. Scripture tells us, “Don’t muzzle a working ox” and “A worker deserves his pay.”

19 Don’t listen to a complaint against a leader that isn’t backed up by two or three responsible witnesses.

20 If anyone falls into sin, call that person on the carpet. Those who are inclined that way will know right off they can’t get by with it.

21-23 God and Jesus and angels all back me up in these instructions. Carry them out without favoritism, without taking sides. Don’t appoint people to church leadership positions too hastily. If a person is involved in some serious sins, you don’t want to become an unwitting accomplice. In any event, keep a close check on yourself. And don’t worry too much about what the critics will say. Go ahead and drink a little wine, for instance; it’s good for your digestion, good medicine for what ails you.

24-25 The sins of some people are blatant and march them right into court. The sins of others don’t show up until much later. The same with good deeds. Some you see right off, but none are hidden forever.

1 Timothy 5 check yourselfLEADERSHIP PRINCIPLE #6: Keep a Close Check on Yourself

Leadership Characteristics –

–Fully rely on God. Trust Him with all you are and all you have. We are His. All we have is His.
–Ask God “if there is anything offensive to you, cleanse me.” as the Psalmist prayed.
–Repent with a heart and mind not wanting to return to the old life.
–Look full into the face of Jesus, our Master, Lord and Savior with laser focus so we know what direction to take next.
–“Keep a close check on yourself.” Avoid, “he did it, I can, too” or “my sin is not as bad as his sin” or “everybody’s doing it” mentality.
–Ask God for wisdom, insight and understanding.
–Allow God’s transformation to continue in our lives.
–Ask God to make your lists of to BE and to DO. HE will prioritize your lists in ways you cannot imagine! Where He guides, He provides help all along the journey.
–Do all in a Spirit of love for God and others.
–Care enough to confront others with God’s love and concern for their spiritual well-being and growth.

Warning   The things on our spiritual check list can never be crossed off because we’ll be working on them our whole lives. By listing we are reminding ourselves of what we need to work on to “keep a close check” on our lives. It is only by The Atonement of Jesus Christ can we accomplish anything of eternal significance.

Dear Heavenly Father,
You have convinced me that we must do spiritual “business” with You each day to improve our being in You. Thank you for helping us on this journey. Thank you for Your Holy Spirit that points out things in our behavior that could cause us to crash…before crashing. Thank you for always being with us, guiding and directing, loving and protecting and challenging us to grow and bear Fruit. Continue to transform me. Transform your church. Transform the world through your church.
In Jesus Name, Amen

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SHAPED BY LOVE

Psalms – Prayers of Honesty and Praise
 
I am truly saved by the outrageous, unconditional, reckless love of God. Without knowing the love of God I would not know who I am, what purpose I have on earth, who to turn to in time of crisis and Who to praise when problems are solved and relationships are restored. God’s love shapes my very being and doing. I love God because He loved me first and taught me how to love.
 
Our next passage speaks for itself…read, meditate on these words, listen for God speaking to you and be blessed.
 
Psalm 119, The Message
Part Six
 
psalm 119 41
41-48 Let your love, God, shape my life
with salvation, exactly as you promised;
Then I’ll be able to stand up to mockery
because I trusted your Word.
Don’t ever deprive me of truth, not ever—
your commandments are what I depend on.
Oh, I’ll guard with my life what you’ve revealed to me,
guard it now, guard it ever;
psalm 119 48And I’ll stride freely through wide open spaces
as I look for your truth and your wisdom;
Then I’ll tell the world what I find,
speak out boldly in public, unembarrassed.
I cherish your commandments—oh, how I love them!—
relishing every fragment of your counsel.
 
I am reminded of a pop song, I Want To Know What Love is by Michael Leslie Jones who is seeking true, sincere love.
 
psalm-119-love.pngI gotta take a little time, a little time to think things over
I better read between the lines, in case I need it when I’m older
Now this mountain I must climb, feels like the world upon my shoulders
Through the clouds I see love shine, it keeps me warm as life grows colder
 
In my life there’s been heartache and pain
I don’t know if I can face it again
Can’t stop now, I’ve traveled so far, to change this lonely life
I want to know what love is, I want you to show me
I want to feel what love is, I know you can show me
 
The song ends with;
 
“Show me love is real, yeah, I want to know what love is”
 
psalm 119 love like jesus
The world is seeking a love that cannot be fulfilled in a casual, sexual encounter. The love that fulfills every need in wanting to be loved and accepted can only be found in accepting the Savior who freely gives us salvation, guidance, help in troubles, along with a forever intimacy that shapes our being and transforms us to all He intended for us to be. THAT’S what Love is. The more we realize the measure of God’s love for us, the more deeply we begin to love each other.
 
Isn’t it time we shared this information about a love that shapes our very lives, saving our souls, creating an intimacy with the One and Only who created us?
 
The Psalmist’s song ends with…I’ll tell the world what I find, speak out boldly in public, unembarrassed. This is what love is!
 
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for teaching us what true, unconditional love is. Thank you for loving us first. Thank you for saving us from all our sin and self. Thank you for loving us when we didn’t love you yet. Thank you for going to a cross to save us while were yet sinners…not knowing there was a Way out and back to You. Continue to shape my life by your love and salvation so that I can love others like you love me. I love You, Lord with all that is in me.
In Jesus Name, Amen
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THE BIGGER PICTURE

Psalms – Prayers of Honesty and Praise
 
psalm 119 what are you
We can daily look at our lives and only see a small part of a much larger picture. There is a danger in that if we dwell too long. We find ourselves caught up in the moment, focusing on things that will not be of any importance in a few days, months or years. Our heads are turned easily from the bigger picture of what God has designed for our lives.
 
The writer of Psalms 119 is looking for the bigger picture of life with God as His Master and wants to learn all God has to teach him about living a life of obedience. TEACH ME is the theme of our next portion of this wonderful prayer for wisdom, insight and understanding for seeing life enlarged.
 
Psalm 119, The Message
Part Five
 
psalm 119 teach me
33-40 God, teach me lessons for living
so I can stay the course.
Give me insight so I can do what you tell me—my whole life one long, obedient response.
Guide me down the road of your commandments;
I love traveling this freeway!
Give me a bent for your words of wisdom,
and not for piling up loot.
psalm 119 turn my eyesDivert my eyes from toys and trinkets,
invigorate me on the pilgrim way.
Affirm your promises to me—
promises made to all who fear you.
Deflect the harsh words of my critics—
but what you say is always so good.
See how hungry I am for your counsel;
preserve my life through your righteous ways!
 
FROM THE HEART…
 
psalm 119 see the big
Look at all the directives the writer is asking of God; Teach me, Give me insight, Guide me, Give me wisdom, Divert my eyes, Invigorate me, Affirm your promises, Deflect what others say, and finally, SEE how much I want You, Lord.
 
Wow! What if we prayed similar words daily?
 
How would it affect our lives?
 
The writer previously asked God to open his eyes to see more and understand more. We can pray for God to take off the blinders that hinder our understanding and even our relationships so we can focus on God, so we may obey and follow God where God leads, and enjoy the trip more readily.
 
Do we pray, asking God to open our eyes to the bigger picture of Who He is with what He has waiting for us to see and understand?
 
How can we pray for wisdom (skills for living)?
 
What words can we use?
 
Do we pray for God’s wisdom and insight just to get us out of our present trouble? OR do we ask God to teach us skills of wisdom that might keep us out of trouble in the first place? Mm, just a thought. Maybe THAT is the bigger picture?
 
LET’S GO A BIT DEEPER…
psalm-119-perspective.jpg
Grand opportunities are missed if we refuse to think and behave like Jesus taught, looking to God for all HE thinks and wants for our lives. Here are but a few examples of what Jesus said and how HE lived, ALWAYS focused on the bigger picture:
 
“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but to do the will of Him who sent Me.” John 6:38
 
“I can do nothing by Myself; I judge only as I hear. And My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” John 5:30
 
“So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.” John 5:19
 
Aren’t we glad JESUS focused on the bigger picture or mission of life eternal for all who believed in Him?
Yes, there is so much more to learn…at every age and stage of life here. There’s more to following in God’s ways and it has a lot to do with seeking, finding and following Jesus who is also God.
 
HEART CHECK:
psalm 119 34
God says it all depends on our hearts. Where are our hearts? Hearts repentant and humbled, ready to receive all that God has for them are invigorated hearts that are “bent for His words of wisdom.”
 
Is my heart bent toward God and am I teachable?
 
What is your heart focus, where is your mind wandering and how full is your soul…on the small things of this monetary life or on the bigger picture of life with God forever?
 
psalm-119-meditating-on-truth.png
Need help? The Holy Spirit, also part of God, is waiting to guide us to think higher, greater, with more insight and understand. Ask, seek and you will find, says Jesus. I believe Him for I have asked and have received his help many times. I will keep asking for there are many things in this world that I just don’t understand. The Holy Spirit guides me back to the bigger picture every time. The key is to stop, be still, let go and listen.
 
psalm-119-thy-will-be-done-1.jpg
Dear Heavenly Father,
Hallowed be Your Name. May Your Kingdom come and reign in my heart. May Your will be done on earth in every detail in my life as it is in heaven. Open my eyes to watch You at work and praise You for it. Invigorate my heart as you teach me Your ways and help me to see the bigger picture of life as You see it. Keep me focused, flexible, and determined to live life on your terms. I am hungry for your counsel. I’m yours. I’m listening. Teach me.
In Jesus Name, Amen
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WHEN THE SEA GETS CHOPPY…

Psalms – Prayers of Honesty and Praise
 
psalm 119 boat on clear day
When life is going well with all the ducks in a row emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually it is easy to smile, feeling the joy of God’s salvation in us and trust that God is there with us. But in an instant, life as you know it, changes. It is not smooth sailing as clouds of doubt move in. A sudden storm brews on the horizon causing the waves to rise. Our confidence is tested.
 
We can ride it out by ourselves or cry out for the One who has always given us strength to keep going, a way to navigate through it and the ability to learn from it. You can’t stop in the psalm 119 boat in choppy watersmiddle of the lake, you must take action! But how? IT could be anything from troubled relationships to illness to financial troubles with unexpected expenses not in the budget or a combination of all these life storms. IT could be betrayal, injustice and humiliation through abuse. IT could be an addiction you are trying to overcome.
 
Crying out to God is not a sign of weakness but of honest, brute strength in knowing where our true confidence and strength lies. It is knowing Who loves us most, above all human efforts to love. It is knowing Who stands ready to show us how to navigate life in ways that will teach us so that we will be ready for the next storm. The Psalmist knows, in the midst of God’s teaching of His Word, WHO to turn to first. And so, he does….
 
Psalm 119, The Message
Part Four
 
25-32
psalm 119 desperate
I’m feeling terrible—I couldn’t feel worse!
Get me on my feet again. You promised, remember?
When I told my story, you responded;
train me well in your deep wisdom.
Help me understand these things inside and out
so I can ponder your miracle-wonders.
My sad life’s dilapidated, a falling-down barn;
build me up again by your Word.
psalm 119 stormBarricade the road that goes Nowhere;
grace me with your clear revelation.
I choose the true road to Somewhere,
I post your road signs at every curve and corner.
I grasp and cling to whatever you tell me;
God, don’t let me down!
I’ll run the course you lay out for me
if you’ll just show me how.
 
HEART CHECK:
 
What road are you on at the moment?  
 
Do you feel you are on the road to Nowhere or Somewhere?
 
psalm 119 dependence
As the Psalmist prays for help, we see honesty, trust, and love for God. We remember that the basic theme of Psalm 119 is the practical use of the Word of God in the life of the believer. He knows God has the answers and relies on his wisdom, insight and understanding to dwell in him as he lives life, overcoming earthly life stuff. He trusts in God to show him the way. He clings to what God has already done. He cherishes God’s instructions to him in the past.
 
What have you learned from past troubles?
How did God show you the way through it then?
 
psalm 119 all our heartsThank God right now for all He has done, is doing and will do. Sometimes we forget all the past troubles that God helped us through. Remembering, (not dwelling on the pain but on the praise of God), our confidence is renewed for now and for whatever lies ahead.
 
He is God and we are not. We are His work in progress. We pray. God works. God consistently works in us, for us and through us to be all He intended for us to be. His love never fails. His mercy and grace are amazing.
 
Know God. Know His Word that became flesh and moved into our neighborhood to live, die and rise again for us to save us. Know His Holy Spirit who guides us from Nowhere to Somewhere.
 
psalm 119 word
Dear Heavenly Father,
Our own boat got caught in a brief storm this week, but You stepped in when I cried out to You. You helped me to see another way to go. You taught me once more how to navigate through the storm. I love and trust You with all that is in me. You are, indeed, the chain breaker to set us free, the way-maker to show us how to get to You and hear You and the pain breaker that heals our brokenness. Thank you, Lord.
In Jesus Name, Amen
 
And I’m singing…(Chain Breaker by Zach Williams)
 
If you’ve been walking the same old road for miles and miles
If you’ve been hearing the same old voice tell the same old lies
If you’re trying to feel the same old holes inside
There’s a better life
There’s a better life
 
If you’ve got pain
He’s a pain taker
If you feel lost
He’s a way maker
If you need freedom or saving
He’s a prison-shaking Savior
If you’ve got chains
He’s a chain breaker
 
We’ve all search for the light of day in the dead of night
We’ve all found ourselves worn out from the same old fight
We’ve all run to things we know just ain’t right
And there’s a better life
There’s a better life
 
If you’ve got pain
He’s a pain taker
If you feel lost
He’s a way maker
If you need freedom or saving
He’s a prison-shaking Savior
If you’ve got chains
He’s a chain breaker
 
If you believe it
If you receive it
If you can feel it
Somebody testify…
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NOT FOR A MINUTE!

Psalms – Prayers of Honesty and Praise
 
psalm 119 not for a minute
I’m not enough unless you come
Will you meet me here again
‘Cause all I want is all you are
Will you meet me here again
 
Not for a minute
Was I forsaken
The Lord is in this place
The Lord is in this place….
(Songwriters: Chris Brown / Steven Furtick / AMY MOODY CORBETT)
 
In the quiet of this hour, I hear this song, Here Again, playing in the background of my mind as we read the next portion of Psalm 119. The writer, like me, is asking for God’s help to see clearly, to realize that miracles are of God’s doing, and to understand which road he must follow. He is coming to God with an empty soul who knows he will be filled by God’s Presence, God’s direction and help. The writer knows that not for a minute will God turn away from a seeking soul.
 
So, “not for a minute,” will this seeking soul takes his eyes off the road where his God is commanding him to go. Others may or may not follow, but not for minute will he turn back now. Others may mock him and try to stop his progress in knowing God, learning His ways and walking this road, but not for a minute will he forsake the God who did not forsake him.
 
Psalm 119, The Message
Part Three
 
psalm 119 open my eyes
17-24 Be generous with me and I’ll live a full life;
not for a minute will I take my eyes off your road.
Open my eyes so I can see
what you show me of your miracle-wonders.
I’m a stranger in these parts;
give me clear directions.
My soul is starved and hungry, ravenous!—
insatiable for your nourishing commands.
psalm 119 bibleAnd those who think they know so much,
ignoring everything you tell them—let them have it!
Don’t let them mock and humiliate me;
I’ve been careful to do just what you said.
While bad neighbors maliciously gossip about me,
I’m absorbed in pondering your wise counsel.
Yes, your sayings on life are what give me delight;
I listen to them as to good neighbors!
 
HEART CHECK:
 
psalm 119 jesus
Is your soul starved, hungry for God, ravenous for His wisdom with an insatiable appetite for His Holy Presence in your life? What can you do about it?
 
Can’t go back to the beginning
Can’t control what tomorrow will bring
But I know here in the middle
Is the place where you promise to be
 
I’m not enough unless you come
Will you meet me here again
‘Cause all I want is all you are
Will you meet me here again
 
psalm-119-24.jpgAs believers, we ARE strangers in a world where many live their lives with only a view of self, self protection, self gratification, selfishness, wanting to do life all by themselves. Do you feel like a stranger at times? Or have you given in this way of thinking?
 
As I walk now through the valley
Let your love rise above every fear
Like the sun shaping the shadow
In my weakness your glory appears
 
I’m not enough unless you come
Will you meet me here again
‘Cause all I want is all you are
Will you meet me here again
 
Like you reading this, I want all God, who has our best interest in His heart, has for each one of us. Our best prayer is to let go of self will and ask God what HE wants for us. With God, we are plenty, we are enough.
 
psalm-119-thy-will-be-done.jpg
Not for a minute
Was I forsaken
The Lord is in this place
The Lord is in this place
 
Come Holy Spirit
Dry bones awaken
The Lord is in this place
The Lord is in this place
 
I’m not enough unless you come
Will you meet me here again
‘Cause all I want is all you are
Will you meet me here again
 
 
psalm 119 delightDear Heavenly Father,
You are God and we are not. Open my eyes. Fill my emptied soul of all of You. Teach me to do Your will. I’m listening with delight and expectancy. I know you will not forsake my request for Your Holy Presence in my life. Thank you, Lord. May the Holy Spirit guide our every thought and action today. Not for a minute will I turn away. Will you meet us here again? All I want is all you are.
In Jesus Name, Amen
I delight myself in You
In the Glory of Your Presence
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You…
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HOW DO WE GET THERE?

Psalms – Prayers of Honest and Praise
 
psalm-119-how-to-get-there.jpgWhen you plan a trip to go to a very exciting place for vacation, to visit family, for a new job, or just to take a drive, you plan. You plan what will be needed for the trip. You plan how to pack all those things into suitcases and backpacks. Then you plan how you are going to get all those bags of stuff into the vehicle.
 
Oh, but what about snacks? You go to the store and spend money on snacks for about hundred people even though there are only two of you. Don’t forget about those “just in case” items that must go in, too. So, you pack those items in and around all the other stuff you now have in the vehicle. Did we forget anything? Yes! A first aide kit “just in case” someone gets a cut finger or bad indigestion. Now, do we have it all together? Are we ready to make the trip?
 
Wait, how do we get there? What about the directions to getting there? Do we just start driving and hope for best? Mm, how long will it take to get to our destination that way? To those of us (me) who like to get there in the most efficient way possible, we follow the guidance of Mapquest or some other app on our mobile devices. This “inner voice” guides us exactly to where we need to be. She even guides us around troubling traffic jams. Yes, we rely on the lady in the phone to get us where we want to be.
 
That’s just one trip. What about LIFE? How do we get to our most important, final destination with God? And what about all the side trips along the way? How do we get there?
 
Living According to God’s Word Psalm 119:9:16Psalm 119, The Message
Part Two
 
9-16 How can a young person live a clean life?
By carefully reading the map of your Word.
I’m single-minded in pursuit of you;
don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted.
I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart
so I won’t sin myself bankrupt.
psalm 119 fix my eyes
Be blessed, God;
train me in your ways of wise living.
I’ll transfer to my lips
all the counsel that comes from your mouth;
I delight far more in what you tell me about living
than in gathering a pile of riches.
psalm 119 teachable spiritI ponder every morsel of wisdom from you,
I attentively watch how you’ve done it.
I relish everything you’ve told me of life,
I won’t forget a word of it.
 
HEART CHECK:
 
BUT, what if we make a wrong turn or miss a turn that we should take? We feel the stress build, destroying our peace. There is nothing more frustrating that to be where you are not familiar and take a wrong turn. The voice on our phone says “recalculating…recalculating” with seriousness, warning us to follow her advice to get back where we need to be.
 
The Holy Spirit does that for us!
 
psalm-119-how-to-live.jpg
We have the power of Christ living in us when we repent of going our own way, letting go of self control for His control over our destination and the Way to get there. God’s Word is clear…”carefully read the map” of His Word. Be focused on the One who will take you to places you have never dreamed about before knowing Him. Be a learner who feasts on His Word, not as a snack, but as food that causes great spiritual health and growth. Listen to God’s counsel. When you hear the voice of His Holy Spirit say, “recalculating…here’s how to get back on the road to your destination”, listen and do it!
 
Watch how God works and give Him praise. Tell others about all God has done, is doing and will do for them, too. Tell them about the “map” and “the Voice” of the Holy Spirit. Trust and obey…for there’s no other way! (Song in my mind at the moment.)
 
THEN…like the Psalmist…don’t forget!
 
psalm 119 one waySo, where are you going? How will you get there? Who will you follow?
 
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for Your Word. Thank you for saving us, dear Jesus. Thank you, Holy Spirit for guiding us, correcting and “recalculating” our steps with love and mercy. Thank you for showing us THE Way and showing us HOW to get there. Help us to let go of all the baggage we do not need to take along. Help us to let go of going our own way. Help us to focus on you, follow in your direction with eagerness and expectancy for the next adventure WITH You.
In Jesus Name, Amen
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NO REGRETS…JUST BLESSED!

Psalms – Prayers of Honesty and Praise
 
psalm 119 study
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away there was a younger lady who cuddled up in her bed after her kids had gone to bed to study for finals. She was meticulously going over classroom notes once more for her Masters program finals in four classes. She had a little light on so that her husband could sleep. After teaching first graders all day then hurry to another town for classes at the University, this was when studying had to happen.
 
Around midnight, praying I would do well, God spoke to my heart and gave me new insight about my life. With piles of classroom notes and textbooks on my lap, the words I heard God say were, “What if you studied my Word and ways as hard as you study for the world’s expectations of you?” Wow. I will never forget this eye-opening experience with God. I put down the textbooks and opened His Word to our next Psalm that educates us about the stewardship of our lives.
 
Psalm 119 is long with much to be learned. But, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Someone told me that once. After I got passed the picture of me eating an elephant, I got it! So this is how we will learn and grow together…one morsel of truth at a time, a mouthful to chew on, until we understand and mature from it’s implications and application to our lives. Ready?
 
psalm 119 1 8Psalm 119, The Message
Part One
 
1-8 You’re blessed when you stay on course,
walking steadily on the road revealed by God.
You’re blessed when you follow his directions,
doing your best to find him.
That’s right—you don’t go off on your own;
you walk straight along the road he set.
You, God, prescribed the right way to live;
now you expect us to live it.
psalm 119 blessedOh, that my steps might be steady,
keeping to the course you set;
Then I’d never have any regrets
in comparing my life with your counsel.
I thank you for speaking straight from your heart;
I learn the pattern of your righteous ways.
I’m going to do what you tell me to do;
don’t ever walk off and leave me.
 
DID YOU KNOW???
 
The emphasis is on the vital ministry of the Word of God in the inner spiritual life of God’s children. It describes how the Word enables us to grow in holiness and handle the persecutions and pressures that always accompany an obedient walk of faith.
 
The psalm is an acrostic with eight lines in each section, and the successive sections follow the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. In Hebrew, each of the eight lines of 1-8 begins with the Hebrew letter aleph, the lines in 9-16 begin with beth, in 17-24 with gimel, and so on.
 
psalm 119 2In various translations you will see that the unknown author used eight different words for the Scriptures: law (Torah), testimony, precept, statute, commandment, judgment (in the sense of “a rule for living”), word (of God), and promise. Since we do not know who wrote the psalm, we cannot know for certain when it was written, but our ignorance need not hinder us from learning from this magnificent psalm.
 
Whoever the author was, he is a good example for us to follow, for he had an intense hunger for holiness and a passionate desire to understand God’s Word in a deeper way. In all but fourteen verses, he addresses his words to the Lord personally, so this psalm is basically a combination of worship, prayer, praise, and admonition.
 
In the psalm, there are no references to a sanctuary, to sacrifices, or to a priestly ministry. The cast of characters includes the Lord God, a remnant of godly people in the nation, the psalmist, and the ungodly people who despised him, persecuted him, and wanted to destroy him. The psalmist referred to them as “the proud” or “the arrogant”. They were people who were born into the covenant but did not value the spiritual riches of that relationship. They hated the law and openly disobeyed it.
 
psalm 119 followOne of my favorite commentators, Warren Wiersbe, teaches an interesting thought, “Whether right or wrong, I have often thought that the prophet Jeremiah might have been the author of Psalm 119 and that he wrote it to teach and encourage his young disciples (v. 9) after the destruction of the temple. Many of the statements in the psalm could be applied to Jeremiah. He spoke with kings, five of them in fact, and bore reproach because he faithfully served the Lord. He was surrounded by critics and enemies who did not seek God’s law but wanted to get rid of the prophet. Jeremiah was definitely the prophet of God’s Word in the heart (Jer. 31:31-34), and this is an emphasis in Psalm 119.”
 
The basic theme of Psalm 119 is the practical use of the Word of God in the life of the believer. When you consider that the writer probably did not have a complete Old Testament, let alone a complete Bible, this emphasis is both remarkable and important.
 
psalm-119-what-road.jpg
Christian believers today own complete Bibles, yet how many of them say that they love God’s Word and get up at night or early in the morning to read it and meditate on it. NOW, do you see the significance of God’s word to me in the middle of the night? I tremble and rejoice at the awakening God gave to me that night long ago, bringing me, heart, mind and soul, to draw near to Him! I haven’t stopped studying His Word since that moment in time.
 
You’re blessed indeed when you study God’s Word and actually live what it says for us to do. God helps us. When we misstep and see a path we are not meant to be on, God’s Holy Spirit pulls us back on course.
 
psalm 119 word“Oh that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set; then I’d never have any regrets…”
 
Dear Heavenly Father,
We pray the prayer of the Psalmist today…”I thank you for speaking straight from your heart; I learn the pattern of your righteous ways. I’m going to do what you tell me to do; don’t ever walk off and leave me.” I know you will answer this prayer because you have so many times before. Help me to be a great steward of the life you have given to me that I give back to you. May your glory be seen in me. Thank you for teaching this eager learning that night long ago and all the days of my life since that time. Thank you for Your Word that clearly tells us what to do and how to be. No regrets…just blessed!
In Jesus Name, Amen
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HIS LOVE NEVER QUITS!

Psalms – Prayers of Honesty and Praise
 
psalm 118 29
Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant through the trial and the change
One thing remains
This one thing remains
 
Your love never fails, and never gives up
It never runs out on me
Your love never fails, and never gives up
It never runs out on me
Your love never fails, and never gives up
It never runs out on me
 
Because on and on and on and on it goes
Before it overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never, ever, have to be afraid
One thing remains
This one thing remains
 
Your love never fails, and never gives up
It never runs out on me
Your love never fails, and never gives up
It never runs out on me
Your love never fails, and never gives up
It never runs out on me
Your love….
 
This song, One Thing Remains by Brian Johnson / Christa Black / Jeremy Riddle is playing in the background of my mind as I read our next prayer of praise.
 
psalm 118 love never failsI may have given up on wanting others to love me but because there is never a time when God does not love me I can carry on. He has proven His love to us over and over again. Jesus is proof. God came down to a hateful world in human form just to prove His relentless, limitless, unconditional love to us. He daily and actively showed what God’s love is on this earth before the cross, during the cross and after the cross. (Read John.)
 
I may try to walk away from this love but God won’t let me go without a fight. For this I am eternally grateful. The real reason I am a believer today is that God won’t let me go so why…leave? God’s love is unending. His love truly never quits. His love draws me to God and His best for me.
 
psalm 118 4
This psalm repeats lines that are important for us to sing so that the meaning will be internalized with praise for One and Only who loves us more than we can imagine. And we wonder why our songs have repetition these days! Like the days of old, we repeat so that we do not dwell on each phrase or individual word but so that we praise God with abandon to thinking of anything else but God and His love for us.
 
“Your love never fails, and never gives up
It never runs out on me”
 
“His love never quits”…
 
“I was right on the cliff-edge, ready to fall,
when God grabbed and held me.
God’s my strength, he’s also my song,
and now he’s my salvation.”
 
“His love never quits”…
 
 
Psalm 118, The Message
 
psalm 118 to lamentations1-4 Thank God because he’s good,
because his love never quits.
Tell the world, Israel,
“His love never quits.”
And you, clan of Aaron, tell the world,
“His love never quits.”
And you who fear God, join in,
“His love never quits.”
 
5-16 Pushed to the wall, I called to God;
from the wide open spaces, he answered.
God’s now at my side and I’m not afraid;
who would dare lay a hand on me?
God’s my strong champion;
I flick off my enemies like flies.
psalm 118 13Far better to take refuge in God
than trust in people;
Far better to take refuge in God
than trust in celebrities.
Hemmed in by barbarians,
in God’s name I rubbed their faces in the dirt;
Hemmed in and with no way out,
in God’s name I rubbed their faces in the dirt;
Like swarming bees, like wild prairie fire, they hemmed me in;
in God’s name I rubbed their faces in the dirt.
I was right on the cliff-edge, ready to fall,
when God grabbed and held me.
God’s my strength, he’s also my song,
and now he’s my salvation.
Hear the shouts, hear the triumph songs
in the camp of the saved?
“The hand of God has turned the tide!
The hand of God is raised in victory!
The hand of God has turned the tide!”
 
psalm 118 2917-20 I didn’t die. I lived!
And now I’m telling the world what God did.
God tested me, he pushed me hard,
but he didn’t hand me over to Death.
Swing wide the city gates—the righteous gates!
I’ll walk right through and thank God!
This Temple Gate belongs to God,
so the victors can enter and praise.
 
psalm 118 corner stone
21-25 Thank you for responding to me;
you’ve truly become my salvation!
The stone the masons discarded as flawed
is now the capstone!
This is God’s work.
We rub our eyes—we can hardly believe it!
This is the very day God acted—
let’s celebrate and be festive!
Salvation now, God. Salvation now!
Oh yes, God—a free and full life!
 
26-29 Blessed are you who enter in God’s name—
from God’s house we bless you!
God is God,
he has bathed us in light.
Festoon the shrine with garlands,
hang colored banners above the altar!
You’re my God, and I thank you.
O my God, I lift high your praise.
Thank God—he’s so good.
His love never quits!
 
psalm 118 love of godHEART CHECK:
 
We may quit loving for a while, but God’s love never quits. God created us to love Him back. He created a place in our hearts, minds and souls that is reserved only for God and His love. When we fill it with something or someone else, we have no peace, no life, no love.
 
Because God’s love never quits and never gives up on us, it is not too late to allow God and His love to wash over us, cleanse every dark spot that offends Him, and then to be filled with His Love. His love covers our sin! Once we do, we can love others like He loves us.
 
psalm 118 messageStop and realize the depth of love God has for us. List the benefits of knowing God’s love. Take all the time you need for His Love to sink into your being…that He has created.
 
The deeper we go in realizing God’s love for us, the deeper and greater our love is for others. There is a direct correlation of accepting and believing God’s never ending love for us to how deeply we love others.
 
How well do we love others? How much do we realize God’s love for us?
 
Through good times and bad, God’s love never quits and never gives up on us. Amazing! Don’t let the shouting words of evil and hate drown out the whispers of God’s love for you today.
 
psalm 118 worshipThis prayer of praise is also talking about the “capstone” of our salvation, Jesus Christ. Jesus. THE Truth of God, Way to God and Life with God! How can the God of Creation love us this much? I don’t know but I am grateful He does! Aren’t you?
 
Tell Him. Tell Others.
 
psalm 118 love never fails
Dear Heavenly Father,
You’re my God, and I thank you.
O my God, I lift high your praise.
I Thank You–You are so good.
Your love never quits!
Thank you for never giving up on me!
In Jesus Name, Amen
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